Cadillac Williams' name has been in the wind in the last 24 hours as a veteran option to back up Steven Jackson in St Louis. And earlier today, Billy Devaney dispensed with the smokescreens and admits: "We're trying to get him." We mentioned him yesterday as a "Plan C," with Ronnie Brown going (with everyone else) to Philadelphia. Here are three quick thoughts on the situation:
The Rams are clearly betting on a full season of health from Steven Jackson
If you're worried about Jackson not being able to shoulder the load for 16 games, you don't spend your free agent money on old players with injury history. Jerious Norwood is 28 and coming off an ACL tear that limited him to two carries in 2010. Williams has suffered catastrophic, career-threatening injuries twice in his career. Neither one is a guy you want to give 20+ carries to for multiple games on the chance that Jackson suffers a major injury.
Fortunately, Jackson is the team's Benjamin Button, seemingly getting healthier and fitter from season to season. His games played have risen stadily from 12 in 2008 to a full 16 in 2010, and since re-signing in St Louis has displayed a tremendous commitment to his offseason preparations.
Another Rams great who made this evolution was Isaac Bruce, who suffered an assortment of injuries in his first five years with the Rams, but became a workout warrior who simply refused to be taken off the field. His commitment helped provide a foundation for the Greatest Show era Rams. Now Jackson's commitment is helping to provide a foundation of leadership for the next era.
Williams is a consistently underrated player by those who only look at stats.
I admit to lukewarm thoughts on Williams as a runner. But those who really scout the game love him. Take these thoughts from a conversation between Matt Waldman and Sigmund Bloom, of footballguys.com:
Somebody who has never gotten due is Cadillac Williams. He’s persevered through so many injuries. To come all the way back and then suffer another catastrophic injury twice…and he was clutch for Tampa Bay last year! Them becoming a winning team last year was a lot due to the offense and he did some amazing things on third down for this team.
The Fans in Tampa Bay are going to miss him, and his ability to protect young QB Josh Williams, if he leaves.
From fellow blogger Eric Schmidt, a die-hard Bucs fan:
@RamsHerd He really excelled last year in the third down back role, great at picking up blitzes. Quality person, I'll miss him.